“A Day in the Life” with author, Lynda Gray

My aunty Lynda Gray is a Ts’msyen hana’ax (woman) from Lax Kw’alaams on the northwest coast of BC. She is the mother of Robin and Phil Gray, and an aunty and second mother to Christina, Darryl, and Katie as well. She resides in East Vancouver and part-time in Prince Rupert. She worked at the Urban Native Youth Association as Executive Director for eight years. She also has extensive experience working with Indigenous organizations. In 2011, she published the first edition of the national best-seller First Nations 101. While writing the second edition, she was also taking classes to learn the Ts’msyen language of Sm’alygax. She is passionate about Ts’msyen culture, language, and Indigenous issues.

Written by Christina Gray – niece

Lynda Gray
Out on a walk trying to get my daily 6,000 steps in. So many people are standing in the middle of the road trying to get a perfect cherry blossom shot, so I thought I would too. Way more interesting than a picture of my feet…
Lynda Gray
My niece Christina and I on one of my frequent flights back to my homelands around Prince Rupert, BC, to reconnect with my family, culture, community, and ancestral language.
In my living room where I am working most days surrounded by Indigenous art. Most of the art was created by my son, Northwest Coast artist Phil Gray, who also did the cover art for the 2nd edition of First Nations 101.
Looking out over my homelands in Prince Rupert on a rainy spring day that stopped just long enough to get out to look around and take a few pictures. The hat I’m wearing is a traditional Ts’msyen hat woven from cedar bark, which is great at keeping the rain off. But the great northwind could easily send it flying!
I am standing outside the Vancouver Opera headquarters between talking with the orchestra and the chorus and extras later that day. I’m helping them to learn more about Indigenous people and how to better engage with us. Hopefully, someday, they will create an opera based on local First Nations stories that are overcrowded with Indigenous people!
Lynda Gray
It’s been a few years now, but this is me learning to weave a cedar bark hat from Ts’msyen artist Pearl Innis. I learned so much with hands-on learning and hadn’t laughed that much in a long time!
Lynda Gray
In my living room working on my laptop, watching a webinar, and learning how to use social media. The cover of the laptop has a killer-whale design by my son, Northwest Coast artist Phil Gray.
I finally started to fulfill my lifelong dream of doing woodworking. I’m always asking family for gift certificates instead of chosen presents so I can buy more tools. This small chest of drawers is the hardest project that I’ve taken on so far. I like to recycle old wood pieces — this used to be a small dining table. When you do community development work or write a book, it often takes a long time before you see concrete results. That’s why I love woodwork, as I get to have a finished product fairly quickly as long as I put in the effort.

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Which ‘hood are you in?

I was born in Prince Rupert BC, but I’ve lived in East Vancouver since I was a baby so I’m a proud East Van gal. I have also spent a lot of time in my homelands since I bought a house in Prince Rupert in 2013 so that my children and I can continue to (re)connect with our family, culture, language, and community.

What do you do?

I love doing community development work as it can help to empower a person, organization, and community to become stronger and more independent. I am also the author of the 2nd edition of First Nations 101, which has released on May 19, 2022, in both hard copy and e-book.

What are you currently working on?

I’m finally learning how to use social media so that I can help promote my new book, but it’s tough!

Now that the book is finished, I can get back to actively learning my ancestral language Sm’algyax.

I am working with the Vancouver Opera on Indigenous issues.

I’m always doing public and online presentations related to First Nations 101 and Indigenous issues in general.

I am working on a few small community development-focused contracts.

Where can we find your work?

You can check out www.firstnations101.com to purchase a copy of my new book from me, or to see the many places that sell it across the country. I am also currently creating videos for a First Nations 101 YouTube channel, podcasts to be released at the end of the year, and am learning to use Twitter. Follow me!

 

 

About Demian Vernieri 213 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.